Neo-liberal EU regime stripped Greece of self-defense against Corona

17/03/2020
To save lives, we must get rid of the neoliberal austerity of the EU, New Democracy and SYRIZA
Paremvasi, Political organisation of the communist left in Greece
Shield the healthcare system and the medical staff now!
Greece: low number of intensive care units per capita

The Covid-19 pandemic stresses the criminal responsibilities of those who have been attacking the public healthcare system and the social state. Ten years of memoranda and neoliberal attacks have created a huge deficit of medical staff and equipment. Today, the neoliberal governments must be held responsible for the epidemic crisis before the society.

The provocative support of the private capital, the privatization of public hospitals, the marketization of health, the abandoning and disparagement of the public sector, they all have the signature of the political forces that have governed our country the past years.

In these difficult times, everyone admits that the hope for the health of the people lies in a well-equipped and -staffed public healthcare system. The expensive private services cannot and are not willing to carry out this duty. They profit on the backs of the patients, scandalously favoured by the EU and the governmental policies.

The outbreak of the virus, with hundreds of thousands of infected and thousands of deaths, has proven that the testament of neoliberalism - "there is no society, only individuals" - is a catastrophe for humanity.

Today more than ever we need social responsibility, collective stance, solidarity, empathy – values that the neoliberal capitalism audaciously and indifferently humiliates. We must discipline to the preventive measures but at the same time collectively revolt against the policies that have destroyed our social cohesion.

 The government of Mitsotakis holds the citizens personally accountable for the elimination of the epidemics. Personal responsibility is indeed necessary, as long as it is not used to cover the political responsibilities for the dramatic lack of medical staff, equipment and intensive care units. The protection of the public heath is not just an issue of personal responsibility, it is foremost a major responsibility and obligation of the state.

The emergency policies announced by the Minister for Heath are not able to cover even the pro-epidemic needs. Today its is necessary to overthrow austerity, the obligation for primary surpluses and the all the policies that aim to the elimination of the public sector. We need policies that prioritise human life over the profits of the private capital and the demands of the EU and the international creditors. The 7 billion primary surplus cannot be invested for the repayment of the creditors and the EU, while people´s lives are in danger.

We fight for:

·       An immediate increase of the public spending on the Ministry of Health; adequate staffing and equipping of the Public Healthcare System; adequate supplies of ventilators, diagnostic tests and consumables. The healthcare system must once and for all be excluded from the suffocating mechanism of the primary surpluses. All obligations and austerity agreements against the EU must be cancelled.

·       Immediate employment of 1000 permanent doctors and 2000 permanent nurses and caretakers, for the 100 intensive care beds to function and the medical units responsible for the corona virus, the local and the intensive care medical units to strengthen. Immediate renewal of all the temporary contracts for all supporting staff and employment of new ones.

·       Strengthening of the primary health care, to relieve the pressure from the hospitals. Decentralised, immediate and free medical tests for the diagnosis of Covid-19, without bureaucratic delays, danger for the medical staff or expensive tests in private healthcare centres. Engagement of private GPs,  pneumonologists and pathologist for in house care services.

·       Additional, fully paid holidays for all private and state employees that get infected, are obliged to abstain from their work, must undertake the care of infected persons, must take care of their kids.

·       The workers, the self-employed, the family and small sized enterprises; for they should not pay the economic crisis to come. State protection for all the sectors that collapse economically and all the workers that loose wages and jobs. Freeze of all taxes and social insurance contributions for as long as the epidemic lasts.

 

The society is being tested and will be tested even harder by the pandemic and its sanitary and economic consequences. Today, along with the demand for immediate and emergent strengthening of the healthcare system, for protection of the vulnerable ones, for state support for the workers, we need social organisation and solidarity, social cohesion and mutual support. Local authorities, organisations and social movements have an important role to play.

We stay at home; We stay together against fear and crisis!

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